Finley I had set a retirement date, but I was going to have to get my knee replaced again before I could retire. We talked with the doctor and he said that he could do the operation January 6 2012. I had a bunch of sick leave built up and so I knew that I would have to be off all of January and the biggest part of February plus I had some vacation I need to use so I set my retirement date for April 1st. Charlotte and I had been talking about where we would like to go and see. We talked about all the states we have not been to and we decided to head south-east to Georgia coast and then up north through the Carolinas and Virginia. It has been 3 months since I had my knee replaced but on my last visit the doctor thought he could see a fine hairline crack in my lower leg bone where he had to put a deeper stinger off of the implant, so he wanted me to continue using a cane for a while longer. I told him we were leaving on a long trip and would this hinder or keep me from going, he said no just be careful and use the cane.
We left early one morning for we knew we were going to drive at least 700 miles or so that first day. We drove from Amarillo Texas to West Memphis AR. On the way we went to Cordell Oklahoma which was about 15 miles one way out-of-the-way to visit my parent’s grave site plus a lot of my family is buried there. I also went to the library looked up and found the grave yard where my brother who I guess was stillborn was buried but we could not find the grave for there were several graves marked with just baby on the brick. After this detour we went back to I-40 and headed east until we reached West Memphis where we spent the night. Since we never know for sure where we or going to stay we talked the next morning where we were heading next. I said well I know we are heading for Georgia how about we head south I would like to go where my dad was born, I do not know if we can find out anything but I would just like to see the area. We headed SE through Mississippi and into Alabama to Winfield in Marion County. We drove around town and looked in some of the cemeteries but could not find any Harbin’s, finely we went to the library and Charlotte found a book that listed my great, great, grandfather and some of the family but I could not find any info about my dad. I did remember that when he was born that they listed him as a girl but there were no birth records listed. There were several pages of Harbin’s so instead of writing them down I asked if it was ok to take pictures of the pages, they said it would be ok but we have to watch how many pictures we took for we could get into copy rights if I took too many.
Charlotte was looking in our AAA travel book and she found a little town called Helen Ga. She was reading about it and it sounded like a neat town so she called on the cell phone and got us a room at a motel right by a stream, so I headed that way. We drove east to Atlanta, by my watch it was around 4:00 PM when we got there. I was using the Garmin to help get through town, yep I missed the exit and we ended up right down town and it was busy already. We pulled up to a stop light and so while I was stopped I looked down and the time on the Garmin said 5:05, my watch said 4:05 then it hit me time zone, I am in 5:00 traffic. It took us a little longer than expected to get out-of-town. We headed NE toward Helen and it was a beautiful drive. When we got there and found our motel, we checked in and our room was on the second flour and when I made up the steps with the luggage we had a great view of the stream. If any of you have ever been to Red River New Mexico, that is what Helen reminded me of although Helen was a lot prettier. We walked up the street to the main street that goes through Helen and we found a Mexican food restaurant right next to the stream, we set out on the patio to eat we had an outstanding meal and the weather was nice not to hot and not to cold. The next morning we were up by sunrise so we drove around town looking it over and stopped at a German bakery for breakfast, it was different from what I was used to but good. We thought about staying another night but this was starting a weekend and they were having a big car show in town this weekend so there were no rooms available.